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Re: Ad Yurii Gloriam (Was Re: maize in ancient india: strong

[soc.culture.indian added to the Newsgroups line]

Peter van Rossum (pmv100@psu.edu) wrote:

: Well, Yuri you are actually changing your line a bit here.  Before you
: seemed to be claiming that no one has specifically gone out looking
: for corn cobs in India so none were found (at least that's how I and
: many others interpreted your comments). 

Correct. I'm not changing my line. I'm saying that _if someone wanted to
disprove Johannessen_, this is what they should do, i.e. look for corncobs
in the settlements around Somnathpur temples. 

I don't understand why the obvious logic of this escapes you, Peter.

: I thought we were all working
: under the assumption that at least some Late Historic Indian sites had
: been excavated, but you seem to be questioning that here.

: Even though I believe the focus of most Indian archaeology has been 
: for earlier sites (like Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro) - just as most New
: World archaeology focuses on Precolumbian, rather than Postcolumbian
: sites - I find it hard to believe that no one has been excavating such
: sites.  So I figured I'd do a bit of checking - but not much.

: Seems that a guy by the name of Shri Gosh was working on a compendium
: of archaeological excavations in India when he died in 1981.  The 
: volume finally got published as "An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archaeology" 
: in 1989 (so its a bit dated now).  Here's a little of what it says right 
: up front:

: "In the post-Independence period the tempo of archaeological field-
: work increased considerably and COVERED ALL PERIODS OF HUMAN 
: CULTURE." (p. xiv)

: "Prehistoric investigations adopted new approaches, working on 
: geomorphology palaeontology, PALAEOBOTANY, and palaeo-climatology" (p. xiv)

: "On [the] protohistoric and HISTORIC SIDE, CULTURAL SEQUENCES 

: "The focus has shifted from the concern for ascertaining the bare 
: LIFE PATTERN" (p. xv)

: Seems to me that if by the late 1970s they were already excavating 
: historic sites and looking at dietary remains, I see no reason why 
: this process should have discontinued.

Well, great, let's see the results of some of these studies if they have
been done. I would have thought that Johannessen's opponents would do
this, and demonstrate conclusively that maize is lacking in the diet of 
the relevant settlements. 

The replies of the critics of Johannessen that have been published DO NOT
do this. Instead they go into some questionable statistical studies
comparing the carvings to maize. Such studies cannot provide any solid

My conclusion is that they (the critics) couldn't do any better, as I
assume they tried...



: My library is very scanty on topics related to Indian archaeology but 
: I was able to find the following book - "Palaeoethnobotany, plants and 
: ancient man in Kashmir." Farooq A. Lone, ed. 1993.  This book reports 
: on a study of plant remains from sites in Kashmir spanning the time 
: period from 2600 B.C. to 900 A.D.  (guess what no maize). While that is 
: a tad earlier that the 12th to 13th century time period you specify 
: above, it should be noted that Johannessen & Parker also claimed that 
: maize was in India substantially prior to that.

: A search of an anthropological database also turned up a number of 
: reports of botanical studies and excavations at Indian sites.  Most
: of these come from two periodicals (Puratattva & Man and Environment)
: which my library doesn't carry so I can't verify the time periods in
: question.  

: But given this information which I found in just an hour or two of 
: poking about I think its pretty safe to assume that excavations and 
: botanical studies are being carried out at Late Historic sites in India.
: Still got a problem with that?

: Peter van Rossum

Yuri Kuchinsky          | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
------------------------| is always Paradise: so say the most ancient 
Toronto ... the Earth   | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
    --- my webpage: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/3988 ---